Curly Teeth

“If you eat your meat, your teeth will curl.”

I wasn't horrified at Granny's pronouncement, merely perplexed. My confusion wasn't over the possibility that she might be telling the truth, at least as she saw it. I was just having trouble visualizing curly teeth. And I actually liked meat...

When I think of Granny, my paternal grandmother, that is the first scene that comes to mind. Then I think of the twinkle in her eye as she made the pronouncement.

During my years growing up, Granny and Grandpa lived in the British Isles, first in London then in the island of Jersey. When I was three years old, we moved to Switzerland and later to Israel. I only saw Granny once every few years, our opportunities for exchanges few and far between.

Granny

Granny

I adored her and loved spending time with her. She was a great storyteller.

I remember her telling a story about her being taken to hospital after she broke her hip falling off a horse. All she could think about, through the pain, was the fact that her knickers had a hole in them. According to her, she punched a doctor in the face and gave him a black eye to prevent him from seeing her knickers.

I also remember her showing me a newspaper clipping. It said something about her protesting something about a park. Maybe it was Hyde park. I have a vague recollection of it having something to do with horse trails there. The headline was, “She Rode a Cock-horse.” I wondered whether she'd ridden naked like Lady Godiva. It wouldn't have been completely out of character.

I only remember a few of her stories. My cousin, Chantal, who grew up in London, had many more opportunities than I to spend time with Granny. I asked Chantal whether she remembered any stories, but she didn't. She didn't even remember Granny telling her stories. Perhaps their relationship was completely different. I also asked my father, who was very close with his mother. But though he reminisced about her telling stories, he had none to share.

Perhaps my Uncle Michael, Chantal's father, can help. But people prioritize their memories so differently.